Panzer Orders Card Game is a Blast! Card Game Review
Panzer Orders Base Game and Expansion 1 Game Review. Publisher: Matt White Designs Designer: Matt White Price: $26.80 base game, $16 for Expansion 1
Passed Inspection: Stunning artwork; fast dynamic play; great on-line support; rules are constantly being updated based upon player comments; third party add-ons, great value for the money
Failed Basic: back of Allied and Axis cards are the same so if the decks get mixed up it takes some time to sort out; new victory conditions would help balance the game; needs breakthrough rules
Matt White, a computer game designer, has put out a stunningly illustrated World War 2 card game, Panzer Orders. This card game, designed, illustrated and published by White, features beautiful full color card sized paintings of tanks, vehicles and infantry. Each card is its own unique art print and no two cards in the game are the same. In White’s own words “I’ve been an avid gamer for over 30 years since school where we had a Friday afternoon war-games club ran by some of the teachers. I can remember playing a lot of the Avalon Hill games plus D&D, Warhammer etc. I’ve always had a keen interest in history, especially WW2 and growing up in Lincolnshire, UK we often used to visit the Duxford Imperial War Museum as a family (where I now take my kids). I help make video games and entertainment for a living and lucky enough to work with talented teams winning BAFTA and Emmy awards along the way. I still live in Lincolnshire with my wife, 4 children and various pets. And I still feel about 8 years old when a Spitfire flies over my house.”
Out of the box, the game features 50 Allied and 40 German cards each its own unique piece of artwork, a 6 sided die and instructions for play. The rules which were included were 4 pages long. A 2nd edition rules set has come out which adds advanced play and clarifies some rules. The 2nd edition rules, an FAQ and third party add-ons such as terrain tiles can be downloaded from:
Each unit is rated for attack against vehicles, attack against infantry and, for vehicles, a Save Modifier representing armor amount, speed, armor slope, etc.
Some units have a negative save modifier which indicates that they are easier to hit and damage.
Each unit may also have special abilities such as “Recce” (reconnaissance), “Hardened”, “Mortar”, “Gun Crew Shield”, etc.
Also each card has a point costs associated with it. You can use these to build your decks. For example, if you want a fast game, use 50 point decks or for a longer game, try 120 points.
The game is playable as multiplayer or solo. There are minor differences depending on whether the game is solo or not but in brief, the turn sequence is as follows:
1) Draw a card
2) Reinforce Battle Groups
3) Move Units
4) Dig In
5) Combat (either close assault combat or ranged combat)
6) Repair Broken Down Units
7) Rally Shaken Units
A Battle Group is a group of units which can be made up of vehicles and/or infantry. In the multi-player game there are three or more battle groups. In the solo game there are two on each side.
Each turn you place cards in your battle groups and decide whether you want your units to use ranged combat, close range attacks (assaults – best for infantry to attack tanks and such), dig in for a defensive bonus (which also precludes them from moving), move a unit from one battle group to another (the other side gets to shoot at the moving units using ranged combat), etc.
Combat is quickly and effectively handled. You declare which units are attacking and whom they are attacking. Are they using close assaults or ranged combat? If you are attempting a close range attack, the enemy gets a free shot at you while you are closing the range. If you are damaged, you can’t continue your attack.
Roll 1d 6 and compare the result to the attack number of the unit attacking. If you roll equal or more than the unit’s attack number, you hit the target. The target then gets a savings roll. A 6 is a save and the attack has no effect. That save can be modified by the Save Modifier. So a +1 Save Modifier allows the unit to avoid damage on a 5 or a 6.
If the target is hit using ranged combat it is considered shaken. If a target is hit from close assault attacks, it is destroyed.
German armor tends to be more powerful but this is balanced out by the unreliability of German technology of that time – the “over engineering” that people talk about. When a German vehicle tries to move or attack, its owner must roll a die. On a 1, the unit breaks down and must be repaired before it can be used. If a broken down vehicle is attacked, the crew abandons it and the attacker wins that fire fight.
The game is played until one side is out of cards or until all the enemy battle groups are destroyed. The side which ran out of cards is the loser as is the side which lost its battle groups.
This game is very simple but a great way to spend a half hour or so.
There are a few rules that could be fleshed out and have been in the FAQ and the free 2nd edition rules. In addition, a rule for breakthrough attempts is needed and is being developed for a future rule set. An alternative victory condition should be written to allow a comparison of points of destroyed units. The player who has destroyed the most points of units can declare a victory.
My only other concern is that the reverse side of the cards is not differentiated between Allied or Axis units so if the cards get mixed, it takes some time to sort them out. I would suggest adding either a star or a cross on the back facing side of the card for ease of sorting.
All in all, Panzer Orders is a great, dynamic frame work to build a game upon and the artwork is stunning! This would make a great stocking stuffer for the holidays!
In addition, an expansion has just come out with more vehicles (including a greater selection of British units) and a new selection of infantry and support vehicles such as trucks to transport those infantry units in!
The game is available at White’s website:
Armchair General Rating: 90 %
Solitaire Rating: 5 (1 = low to 5 = perfect for solo play)
About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!